Lake Shore Bancorp, parent of Lake Shore Savings Bank, is expanding its branch network in Erie County again, capitalizing on First Niagara Financial Group's purchase of HSBC Bank USA's upstate New York branch network earlier this year to snag a branch building in Snyder that First Niagara vacated.

The Dunkirk-based bank said it has purchased the former First Niagara office at 4950 Main St. in the Amherst community, and plans to open a new branch at the new location in the second quarter, assuming regulators approve. That location, next to the Lord Amherst Hotel, will be the 11th branch for the bank, and its sixth in Erie County.

The $1.2325 million purchase includes only the building and its contents, not any deposits or loans.
"We are pleased to be able to execute our strategic plan and expand our presence in Erie County," Daniel P. Reininga, the bank's president and CEO, said in a news release. "We look forward to being able to bring our banking model to this market area and to meet the financial needs of local families and businesses by providing a superior level of personal service that differentiates us from larger banks."

The branch was built by Greater Buffalo Savings Bank before First Niagara bought that bank several years ago. It's one of five area locations that First Niagara is selling after closing them and consolidating them with HSBC branches it acquired in May 2012.

The move by Lake Shore comes just a few weeks after the bank said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would be focusing its future expansion on "clicks" instead of "bricks." That refers to enhancing technology and electronic access to the bank to attract new customers, rather than adding new branches. But the bank also said it would consider branches where appropriate.

"If there's a strategic opportunity, we'll take advantage of it," Reininga said in an interview. "We're still interested in developing our clicks opportunity, but this is a wonderful strategic fit with our footprint, so we're excited about it."?